Anabela Cardoso’s new book
Friedel’s Conversations with the Dead: The Fascinating Story of Friedrich Jürgenson, Pioneer of EVP
Anabela Cardoso and Anders Leopold
Friedel’s Conversations with the Dead is the story of the Swedish painter and opera singer Friedrich Jürgenson, who pioneered the discovery of Electronic Voice Phenomena, in which deceased people appear to be able to make contact with the physical world utilising electronic devices such as radios, tape recorders, computers and televisions.
Born in Odessa in 1903 during the first Russian revolution, Friedel, as he was affectionally known, witnessed the carnage and dead bodies piled up in the streets at a young age. When he was six years old his father took him to a slaughterhouse, and when he heard the screams of animals being killed, he said there and then, “It is not right for man to eat dead animals.” That was a defining event in his life and he became a lifelong vegetarian. His childhood experiences were a stark vision of the fragility of human existence and the cruelty imposed on animals, and reminder to him that death is never far away.
Maybe it was a preparation for the day in 1959, when he heard his mother’s voice on the tape recorder that he used for recording birdsong in the forest. That was unusual because the tape recorder and tape were new, whereas she had been dead for five years!
This book documents his encounters with scientists such as Hans Bender, the renowned German psychologist, who after experimenting with the voices concluded, that they couldn’t be explained by normal means and were “probably paranormal.”
TV personalities sought out Friedel, curious and in many cases sceptical about the voices and his claims, and he was the star of Sweden’s version of the TV show “This is Your Life”, and the subject of a film and documentaries in Europe, and produced and directed his own documentaries.
He became a regular guest at the Vatican and took part in excavations in Pompeii. He painted portraits of two pope’s, Pius XII and Pope Paul VI, which still hang there today. Pope Paul VI later agreed that the voices, were not of earthly origin (or demonic) and were indeed the voices from the dead.
Friedrich Jürgenson embodied the spirit of a renaissance man and his story is one of the more fascinating adventures of the twentieth century.